New awareness posters from the Japan Meteorological Association cause a storm online.

When it rains, people from all walks of life feel no shame in whipping out an umbrella to protect themselves from getting wet, so why is using an umbrella in summer to shield yourself from the sun’s rays classed as a female-only thing in Japan?

It’s a question the Japan Meteorological Association wants to bring to everyone’s attention, and they’re aiming to smash prejudice against parasol use with the hashtag #higasaforall (“parasols for all”). Not only do they want everyone to use the sunshades in summer, especially now when the country swelters under a deadly heatwave, they want to make people aware of the benefits of using them, and understand why it’s reckless and stupid to view the parasol as a gendered accessory.

The campaign to promote parasol use has become a hot topic online, where people have been heaping praise on the Association for the three eye-catching posters being used for the promotion. Looking more like works of modern art with their bold use of red, black, beige, and light blue, the designs aren’t the only thing that’s impressive, as the catch-copy is thought-provoking and meaningful too.

This first poster says: “You can walk in the shade forever” in bold print, with “On a hot summer day, parasols reduce effective temperature by seven degrees Celsius”. That means a 39-degree Celsius (102-degree Fahrenheit) day can feel like 32 degrees Celsius (89 degrees Fahrenheit) under a parasol.

The next poster addresses the issue of prejudice with “Why don’t we stop the notion that parasols are effeminate? The problem isn’t ultra-violet rays, it’s prejudice.”

And finally, a parasol poster for the pandemic era: “For children who don’t understand social distancing, here you are. Practical not just as a countermeasure for the heat, parasols are good for avoiding close crowding.”

Content creator @Monyaizumi worked on the new poster concept, which was produced with a professional designer at the request of the Japan Meteorological Association. Since their release, the posters have appeared in shops like Waterfront, in Tokyo’s Jiyugaoka, which is said to be the world’s largest umbrella specialty store.

The “higasa for all” concept is one that a lot of people in Japan are keen to get behind, as the numerous benefits of parasol use shouldn’t be available to just one demographic of society, especially when you can get ones with mist-spraying fans under them.

The Japan Meteorological Association hopes the campaign will now encourage more people to stand up against prejudice and “walk in the shade forever”, regardless of age or gender, because really, only parasols should be throwing shade at those who choose to use them.

Images: Twitter/@tenkijp
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[ Read in Japanese ]